Return of live racing July 20 STARTS AT BATAVIA DOWNS

Representatives from Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel are gearing up for a new generation of harness racing at Batavia Downs starting next Wednesday July 20e of America’s oldest lighted harness track.

The 56-night season is scheduled to run select Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays throughout the summer and fall. A full schedule with release times can be found at With a newly remodeled Clubhouse, group packages are now available and interested parties can call 585-343-3750 to book.

“We know Western New York Harness fans will be thrilled with the time and effort put into renovating the historic Clubhouse,” said Scott Kiedrowski, vice president of operations. “We look forward to entertaining racing fans this season and for years to come. Our new race management team will focus more on delivering a quality racing product with the highest integrity.

New Live Racing Director Don Hoover brings extensive horse racing experience at multiple Northeast tracks, including Saratoga Harness where he has spent the past 12 years. Originally from North Tonawanda, Don left a banking career to become a successful driver/trainer at Saratoga Raceway. He even claimed his first horse at Batavia Downs. For 15 years he drove and coached on several tracks along the east coast including Batavia Downs. He worked as assistant race secretary at Vernon Downs before becoming simulcast manager and race secretary. He then moved to Northfield Park where he ran their racing publicity department while also running the Player’s Club and taking over handicapping duties.

“We are delighted to welcome Don to our team,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs. “Never before have we had someone on our team with such a breadth of knowledge in this specialized industry. Don will bring a whole new perspective with his wealth of track experience across the country. We look forward to implementing his ideas. to provide Batavia Downs guests with the best racing experience.”

“As we welcome back racing fans, we are offering two bets that were introduced last year and have proven to be very popular,” Hoover said. “Our Pick 5 starts each night in Race 1. If no one holds a winning ticket, the money will roll over to the next night. The Super High 5 Jackpot is also back, allowing customers to predict the order exact top 5 horses in our last race on some nights.Again, if no one has a winning ticket, that money will carry over to the following night.

Wayne Teaven is the new race presenter at Batavia Downs. Wayne wanted to be a race announcer ever since he followed announcer Pete Szymanski to Buffalo Raceway in the late 80s and 90s. This self-taught announcer rose through the ranks of announcer in the mid-2010s before calling full races at Buffalo Raceway in 2016. He became the full-time announcer at Buffalo Raceway in 2017. His name is NOFA Football as well as dirt bikes, motocross and kart racing and is thrilled to be the full-time advertiser.

Assistant Race Secretary and Program Director Patty Bruno has been part of the Batavia Downs team for years. She is heavily involved in the New York Sire Stakes, serving as race secretary and program director for most New York State county fairs. A SUNY Geneseo and Nazareth College graduate, she worked as a teacher for 34 years. Having retired from a full-time job, she now uses her vast knowledge and can-do attitude to promote harness racing throughout New York State.

Another longtime member of the Batavia Downs team is Mary Bucceri, now in a new role as Administrative Assistant for Live Racing. After working in the Marketing and Food & Beverage departments, she has been involved in many on-site events, working with many local charities and organizations to raise funds through on-site events. Mary’s family has a long history in harness racing, with her parents both working in the industry. Mary will work with local groups to bring them to the newly renovated clubhouse for the next race meet.

New Track Photographer, Wendy Lowery is a newlywed who has owned and operated her own photography business for over 10 years, specializing in portrait, wedding, lifestyle and nature photography. His photos have been featured in Seneca Park (Rochester) Zoo newsletters and calendar. Wendy’s passion for equestrian photography will make her an integral part of the new Batavia Downs Live Racing team.

Missy Morris is the new Outrider from Batavia Downs. Riders often lead the post parade, but also help calm nervous horses or find them if a horse gets loose. Missy is a 3rd generation of the Stark family who raced on the Western NY circuit. She has been riding at the Meadows (Pittsburgh) racetrack and casino for 26 years. Having started while still in high school, her career saw her rise to two Breeders Crowns and 7 years at the Little Brown Jug.

“I’m pleased with the new team that has come together here at Batavia Downs,” Hoover said. “We look forward to enhancing the Live Racing product with new promotions and events for our valued guests. We hope all Harness fans from across the county will come see the newly remodeled Clubhouse or enjoy one of our days at $2 Our goal will be to provide families and fans with an affordable and fun track experience.

About Frances R. Smith

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